Rundlet-May House

Lolling Chair

By the 1820s the lolling chair was a well-established and popular form of furniture in Portsmouth. The thick, spiral turning on the front legs, pineapple carving on the arms, and distinctive curved rear legs indicate that this is a later version of the form, probably dating to mid-1820s. This example of a lolling chair, first owned by Samuel Lord, was possibly made by one of Portsmouth’s leading cabinet makers, Langley Boardman. Lord’s daughter, Mary Elizabeth Lord Morrison, chose to be portrayed sitting in the chair when she commissioned U.D. Tenney to paint her portrait in 1874. Her daughter, Mary Ann Morrison married James Rundlet May and after the sale of her childhood home to the Portsmouth Historical Society in the early twentieth century, she brought many family items to the Rundlet-May House.